Filing an Official Consumer Complaint about Your Car
Why File Your Complaint
U.S. Department of Transportation encourages consumers to file an
official complaint of record with them when the suspect safety issues with
their model car. This information will be entered into National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration's (NHTSA) vehicle owner's complaint database and used with
other complaints to determine if a safety-related defect trend exists.
Your complaint is important
in determining if further action is needed to investigate the possibility of a recall.
How Your Complaint is Handled
- If a safety-related defect
is determined to exist by NHTSA in a motor vehicle or item of motor vehicle equipment, the manufacturer
must fix it at no cost to the owner. Your complaint is the first step in the
- Government engineers analyze
the problem. If warranted, the manufacturer is asked to conduct a recall. If
the manufacturer does not initiate a recall, the government can order the
manufacturer to initiate a recall.
There is not a specific number
of complaints which need to be filed before a problem is investigated.
Steps to File Your Complaint
There are two ways you can file an official complaint about a model car with
The information that will be requested
pursuant to the authority vested in the National Highway Traffic
Safety Act and subsequent amendments. You are under no obligation to
respond to this questionnaire. Your response maybe used to assist
the NHTSA in determining whether a manufacturer should take appropriate action
to correct a safety defect. If NHTSA proceeds
with administration enforcement or litigation against a
manufacturer, your response, or statistical summary thereof, may be
used in support of the agency's action.
You can file your official complaint directly on-line by clicking
FILE BY PHONE:
Call the DOT Vehicle Safety
Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) while a NHTSA representative will
record your complaint and other pertinent information.